Capital punishment is legal under federal law, but 21 states have made it illegal. Some of the problems with the death penalty include cost, false accusations, discrimination, abuse of power, lack of deterrence and lack of morals.
The cost to carry out a death sentence, in itself, is a reason to end capital punishment. It’s costing states with the death penalty millions of dollars per year because of costly trials and the appeals process and even the drugs used in the injections.
Enforcing the death penalty uses citizens’ money for those expenses when, instead, it could be used to improve the lives of people in need. Housing people on death row and executing them is not the best use of tax dollars.
According to deathpenaltyinfo.org, Nebraska has executed only half, at the most, of the prisoners on death row in previous years. If Nebraska abolished the death penalty, it is estimated that we would save more than $14 million annually.
The cost doesn’t only affect the state’s spending, it can be the final factor in whether a person is sentenced to death. Good lawyers are not cheap. A person of lower income will be unable to afford a great lawyer to be represented well; therefore, they will not have a fair trial. If a person does not have a fair trial, they more likely will be sentenced to death, even if that person is innocent.
It is not often that an innocent person is executed, but it does happen. If a person is wrongfully convicted and sentenced to life in jail, he or she has time to be proven innocent. However, if that person is executed there is no chance of that person ever living the life he or she should have.
When an innocent person is convicted and sent to prison, the real killer, who should be in jail, still is out there.
The family of the executed person loses an innocent loved one who they never will be able to get back.
In addition to all these shortcomings, capital punishment is discriminatory. Studies by the Gale Group show that if the person accused of murder is black, his or her chances of being sentenced to death increase by 38 percent. In the U.S., more than 50 percent of the people on death row are not white. Of the approximately 2,500 people on death row, 41 percent are African American, 13 percent are Hispanic and 42 percent are white. Fifty-four percent of the people on death row are minorities. This shows that the death penalty is discriminatory.
There are too many flaws in the capital punishment system, and it gives too much power to the government. The government should not be given the power to legally kill its own citizens, especially with a system that has so much room for error with no undo button.
Capital punishment does not even deter murder. Studies done in cities with similar populations and demographics prove that high-crime rates are the same or higher in cities in states that impose the death penalty as opposed to those that do not.
Aside from all the facts, taking a life is wrong morally. Two wrongs do not make a right. If the state wants to do something good for its citizens, it should invest in programs in high crime rate areas focusing on the betterment and education of those citizens instead of taking their lives.